Review: A Killing Fire

Here is my late review for the blog tour of A Killing Fire. Huge apologies to the author, publisher, and Anne Cater for this being so late.

About the Book

The first time Raven Burns saw her father kill, the victim was her mother. Afterwards, Floyd “FIRE” Burns set the house on fire, making Raven watch as the flames slithered across the yard like some unknowable language. Then he took her on a multi-state killing spree. She could’ve told or killed him in his sleep. But there were his constant whispers, his wet lips close to her ear saying that little girls who told were sent to hell, and their mothers were called down from heaven to take care of them.

By the time he is executed, Raven has become a cop with the sole purpose of putting men like him away. But she can’t escape Floyd’s terrorizing voice in her head, somehow guiding her steps while reminding her of the horrors he had forced her to witness. And she can’t escape the questions that continue to haunt her: Did witnessing make her complicit? Had the same evil that lived in her father taken residence in her soul?

The town of Byrd’s Landing, Louisiana appears to have made up its mind. The community accepts that Raven had nothing to do with Floyd’s crimes. But when Raven shoots a teenager who points what turns out to be an unloaded weapon at her, stories about Floyd resurface. The whispers begin. No voice is louder than wealthy socialite Hazel Westcott. When Westcott turns up dead in the backyard of her Big Bayou Lake estate, the doubting voices reach a deafening crescendo, and the ghosts of her past rise up to greet her. To catch Westcott’s killer, Raven must come to terms once and for all with who she is. And who she is not.

My Review

The Killing Fire revolves around the story of Raven. When she is called to the scene of a murder she sees something that reminds her of her father. Is it a coincidence, or is Raven’s past coming back to haunt her.

The book focuses on the murder investigation, with flashes of Raven’s past with her father. Through this we see how Raven was shaped by her father’s influence, something she still hasn’t managed to escape.

There’s only been one victim so far, but Raven is convinced this is the work of a serial killer, and that this is only the beginning.  Is she right, or is her desperation to solve the murder clouding her judgement?

The past and present are cleverly woven throughout this book. Alternating timelines are something I often struggle with, I generally prefer a book told in chronological order, but it worked well in this. It gave the reader clues about Raven’s past, letting them know more about her character while building up suspense.

Throughout the book it is unclear whether Raven is correct in her beliefs that the killings are related to her father. Raven is an unreliable narrator, so the reader doesn’t know whether to believe her theory, or if her past is colouring her abilities. This adds to the tension as the reader tries to work out what is really going on.

Raven was a very interesting character, but I don’t think I’d trust her to lead an investigation. I enjoyed the book and I’d like to see more of Raven in the future.

One Year Later Blog Tour

About the Book

Some secrets won’t stay buried…

Since Amy’s daughter, Ruby-May, died in a terrible accident, her family have been beset by grief. One year later, the family decide to go on holiday to mend their wounds. An idyllic island in Italy seems the perfect place for them to heal and repair their relationships with one another.

But no sooner have they arrived than they discover nothing on this remote island is quite as it seems. And with the anniversary of the little girl’s death looming, it becomes clear that at least one person in the family is hiding a shocking secret. As things start to go rapidly wrong, Amy begins to question whether everyone will make it home…

My Review

This was a beautiful and haunting story. I can’t imagine what it would be like to lose a child, but this book does a wonderful job of explaining what the family is going through, and how they are coping with the tragedy.

One Year Later alternates between how the family are dealing with the death of a child, and unravelling the mystery of what really happened. Amy just wants her father to admit his part, but he doesn’t remember anything about that day. Sanjida Kay tells the struggle of reconciling the love for a family member with the belief that they are responsible for the death of your child.

This book captivated me the entire way through. I couldn’t put it down and I had to know what was going on. More details and inconsistencies about that day are revealed slowly throughout the book, and the truth about what happened becomes more unclear.

I thought Sanjida Kay did a wonderful job of portraying the raw emotion of the family throughout this book, and making the reader feel part of this. I cannot recommend this book enough.

Thanks to Anne from Random Things Tours and Corvus Books for my copy of this book, and the invitation for the blog tour. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

SANJIDA KAY is a writer and broadcaster. She lives in Somerset with her daughter and husband. She has written three previous psychological thrillers, Bone by Bone, The Stolen Child and My Mother’s Secret to critical acclaim.

A Chain Across the Dawn Blog Tour

I’m thrilled to be kicking off the blog tour for A Chain Across the Dawn today. Thanks so Anne at Random Things Tours for inviting me to take part.

About the Book

It’s been three years since Esa left her backwater planet to join the ranks of the Justified. Together, she and fellow agent Jane Kamali have been traveling across the known universe, searching for children who share Esa’s supernatural gifts.

On a visit to a particularly remote planet, they learn that they’re not the only ones searching for gifted children. They find themselves on the tail of a mysterious being with impossible powers who will stop at nothing to get his hands on the very children that Esa and Jane are trying to save.

With their latest recruit in tow—a young Wulf boy named Sho—Esa and Jane must track their strange foe across the galaxy in search of answers. But the more they learn, the clearer it becomes—their enemy may be harder to defeat than they ever could have imagined.

My Review

I didn’t realise that this was the second book in a series when I started reading it, but this didn’t take away from my enjoyment of the book. This can be read as a standalone, however I am going to get the first in the series.

I really enjoyed this book. I love sci-fi and space operas, but I find they can often be quite hit and miss. A Chain Across the Dawn kept my interest wonderfully for the entire book.

I thought that this book excelled at things that sci-fi can really struggle with. It doesn’t get too bogged down in world building, and giving the entire history of different planets and races, but it does give enough detail that the reader understands what’s going on, and doesn’t feel like they’re missing out on part of the story.

I also thought the pacing of this book worked really well. I couldn’t put the book down as I had to know what was going on. The pacing kept the story moving really well, while still allowing time to discover more about the character’s back stories, and giving the reader time to process what was going on.

The characters in this book are really well written and easy to connect to. They’re all incredibly human, despite the fact that they’re aliens. The motivations of the characters, and the reasoning behind the ongoing wars, are easy to relate to, and similar to what we see around us today. I liked the idea of religion as something that doesn’t end, and instead expands as technology does and we start to explore different planets, and species. The use of religion as a justification for war is a common one, but despite this religion isn’t portrayed negatively in the book.

I absolutely adored Esa. She was a wonderful character, and one the reader could relate to easily. I also love seeing bad-ass females who are still in touch with other aspects of themselves. So often the strong female character is an excellent fighter, but don’t have any other personality. We saw that Esa was fighting for the right reasons, but was still affected by what she did.

I loved this book. I’ve already ordered the first in the series, and I’ll be looking out for more from this author.

Another huge thanks to Anne for inviting me onto this blog tour. All opinions are my own.

About the Author

Drew Williams was born and raised in Birmingham,
Alabama, in the southern United States of
America. He is a bookseller at the Little Professor
Book Center in Homewood, Alabama. A Chain
Across the Dawn is his second book.

Clear My Name Blog Tour

About the Book

Innocent?

When Carrie was accused of brutally murdering her husband’s lover, she denied it. She denied it when they arrested her, when they put her in front of a jury, and when they sent her to prison.

Now she’s three years into a fifteen-year sentence, away from the daughter she loves and the life she had built. And she is still denying that she is to blame.

Guilty?

Tess Gilroy has devoted her life to righting wrongs. Through her job for Innocence UK, a charity which takes on alleged miscarriages of justice, she works tirelessly to uncover the truth.

But when she is asked to take Carrie’s case, Tess realises that if she is to help this woman, she must risk uncovering the secrets she has struggled a lifetime to hide…

We’ve all done things we’re not proud of.

My Review

This blog tour was originally booked up before I had even seen the email, so I was thrilled when it had been extended. Thanks to damppebbles and for my copy of the book.

This was a really interesting twist on the usual crime/murder mystery novel. Carrie has already been convicted and sentenced for murder, and been in prison for the last three years. Has she been wrongly convicted, or is her daughter unable to accept that her mother is a murderer?

The majority of murder mysteries or crime dramas end with the murderer admitting their crimes once they have been confronted with the evidence, so we never really think about what happens if an innocent person if found guilty. We like to think that we live in a society where this wouldn’t happen,  but this probably happens more often than we’d like to admit.

It’s not clear from the start of this book whether Carrie is innocent or guilty. We follow Tess as she tries to determine whether Carrie is innocent, and if she is, who is the murderer?

There is a lot going on in this book, it keeps you guessing as you’re not sure who to believe, or what the truth is. If Carrie is innocent, who hated her enough to frame her for murder? 

I couldn’t put this book down. The characters draw you in, and I was desperate to find out what was really going on. Clear My Name manages to give you enough background information about the characters throughout the book to keep you invested in them, without going into so much detail that it takes away from the pacing of the story.

Tess is a flawed character, which is what makes her so relatable and likeable. I’d love to see her in future books.

About the Author

© Stephen Lea

Paula Daly is the critically acclaimed author of six novels. She has been shortlisted for the CWA Gold Dagger for Crime Novel of the Year award, and her books have been developed for the new ITV television series, Deep Water, starring Anna Friel. She was born in Lancashire and lives in the Lake District with her husband, three children, and whippet Skippy.

Social Media:

Twitter: https://twitter.com/PaulaDalyAuthor

Facebook: https://www.facebook.com/Paula-Daly-490968164379299

Review: 55 ★★★

About the Book

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There were 54 victims before this. Who is number 55?

Wilbrook in Western Australia is a sleepy, remote town that sits on the edge of miles and miles of unexplored wilderness. It is home to Police Sergeant Chandler Jenkins, who is proud to run the town’s small police station, a place used to dealing with domestic disputes and noise complaints.

All that changes on a scorching day when an injured man stumbles into Chandler’s station. He’s covered in dried blood. His name is Gabriel. He tells Chandler what he remembers.

He was drugged and driven to a cabin in the mountains and tied up in iron chains. The man who took him was called Heath. Heath told Gabriel he was going to be number 55. His 55th victim.

Heath is a serial killer.

As a manhunt is launched, a man who says he is Heath walks into the same station. He tells Chandler he was taken by a man named Gabriel. Gabriel told Heath he was going to be victim 55.

Gabriel is the serial killer.

Two suspects. Two identical stories. Which one is the truth?

My Review

When I first read the blurb for this book I was immediately intrigued. Sadly, I thought it didn’t quite live up to it’s full potential.

There is a lot going on in this book to keep you interested, but the characters aren’t likable, and this took away from my enjoyment. Chandler can’t stand up to his old rival, Mitchell who comes to town to help solve the case (and take over). Mitchell is a one-dimensional character with no redeeming qualities whose entire purpose is to be Chandler’s rival. 

From the blurb I expected the majority of the book to revolve around the mystery of who was telling the truth, but I thought this was solved too quickly. I wanted more of the book to focus on this, as it’s a really interesting idea that could have been expanded. This didn’t feel like the main plot of the book, more something they had to get past to solve the next part.

The book was enjoyable and there were some really good plot twists ,but it didn’t stand out for me. I think this got lost in the middle of some really good thrillers so that could have affected my opinion. I’d consider reading the next release from this author, but he hasn’t moved to my must buy list.

Review: Lost Daughter ★★★★

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If you think photos aren’t important… wait until they’re all you have left of your child.

Your life isn’t perfect, but you’re still happy. Your husband has stuck by you and he’s a good dad. Your daughter Becca makes your heart explode with love.

And then, in the time it takes to say ‘bad mother’, there’s no longer a place for you in your own family. Your right to see your child has disappeared.

Life goes on in your house – family dinners, missing socks and evening baths – but you aren’t there anymore. Becca may be tucked up in bed in Rose Cottage, but she is as lost to you as if she had been snatched from under your nose.

Everyone knows you deserve this, for you what you did. Except you’re starting to realise that things maybe aren’t how you thought they were, and your husband isn’t who you thought he was either. That the truths you’ve been so diligently punishing yourself for are built on sand, and the daughter you have lost has been unfairly taken from you. Wouldn’t that be more than any mother could bear?

This isn’t the type of book I would usually read but I really enjoyed it. When I ordered this I was expecting a thriller, but it turned out to be a much more emotional read.

Lost Daughter tells the story of three mothers, who, for various reasons, no longer live with their children. Leona gave up her daughter for adoption, Viv’s son has been in an institution for forty years, and Rachel moved out of the family home after an ‘incident’ with her husband.

The story focuses on Rachel, with some chapters telling the story of other characters. Rachel’s story has chapters set in the present, and before the incident, explaining the events that led up to her losing everything.

The author describes the emotions of the different characters beautifully. We get an understanding of the pain and guilt they feel from not being able to look after their childen, and the journey they go through dealing with this.

This book moved me to tears more than once. It was an incredibly captivating story.

Review: Space Opera

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After years a war the galaxy finally came up with a solution to decide which species were sentient and deserved to live. A singing contest. Humanity are invited to join this contest for the first time, to prove their sentience. If they don’t compete, or finish last, they will be destroyed.
Welcome to the Metagalatic Grand Prix

Let me start my review by saying I wanted to like this book. I love Eurovision (as anyone who follows me on twitter will have noticed), so when I saw a book that was Eurovision in space I was so excited to read it. This book did not live up to my expectations, it didn’t even come close.

The writing style tried too hard to be Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy, with long, wordy, rambling sentences and tangents that didn’t add to the story. Most of this book was filler, not furthering the plot in any way.

I didn’t find the main characters to be particularly likeable, and the book didn’t spend enough time with them to change my opinion. There were more chapters and scenes that didn’t feature the main characters than did, but these didn’t introduce any other characters in the book.

I think the author had spent too much time world building for this book, and wanted to show that off, with all of the different planets and alien species. Unfortunately the book didn’t have a strong enough plot to support this, the actual singing competition was only twenty pages.

I hard to force myself to finish this book. If I hadn’t been so excited (and paid £12) I probably would have DNF’d it within the first hundred pages.